Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten Second Basemen 5 and 6 Categories

We’ve been running through the players in alphabetical order now for about the last year. We do this for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that while the past five seasons might give a player a certain ranking, and the rankings may vary based on five or six categories, where the player actually ranks is far different. We will move to that system here for the five and six categories. What follows is the best guess based on adjustments that seem logical.

The five category leagues are still the backbone of the sport, but more leagues are including an on base element. That usually ends up being on base percentage itself or walks. Since we have batting average already we will include walks as the sixth category. So, the rankings you see will combine their rankings in both the five and six categories as well expectations for future performance.

Jose Altuve—Houston Astros 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .346 24 112 81 32 58
2016 .338 24 108 96 30 60
2015 .313 15 86 66 38 33
2014 .341 7 85 59 56 36
2013 .283 5 64 52 35 32
AVG .324 15 91 71 38 44

5 Category: 1

6 Category: 1

Projections are always difficult, but the concept is pretty simple. Will Jose Altuve do better than the five-year average or worse? It seems impossible to ponder, but he has seemingly gotten better each year since 2014. In that span he has had 200 or more hits every season, seen his power increase, and his patience increase. The five-year average might be the floor of what we can expect from him.

Daniel Murphy—Washington Nationals 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .322 23 94 93 2 52
2016 .347 25 88 104 5 35
2015 .281 14 56 73 2 31
2014 .289 9 79 57 13 39
2013 .286 13 92 78 23 32
AVG .305 17 82 81 9 38

5 Category: 2

6 Category: 5

Every year there is a guy that busts out in the postseason. Daniel Murphy was the guy from 2015. He hit seven home runs in the 2015 postseason and the Nationals signed him on the heels of that performance. What came next is the unbelievable part. He continued to hit. That almost never happens. Like Altuve, recent results would seem to indicate that the five-year average is a little conservative.

Brian Dozier—Minnesota Twins 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .271 34 106 93 16 78
2016 .268 42 104 99 18 61
2015 .236 28 101 77 12 61
2014 .242 23 112 71 21 89
2013 .244 18 72 66 14 51
AVG .252 29 99 81 16 68

5 Category: 4 

6 Category: 2

Like the others above him, this is about where he is going and not necessarily where he has been. His power and patience are on the rise and he has hit for higher average the last two seasons. Batting average is a red herring anyway. It will cause some to pick Robinson Cano before him. Notice that Dozier is a little better in every other category (save RBI). Sometimes we can become a slave to individual categories to our own detriment.

Robinson Cano—Seattle Mariners 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .280 23 79 97 1 49
2016 .298 39 107 103 0 47
2015 .287 21 82 79 2 43
2014 .314 14 77 82 10 61
2013 .314 27 81 107 7 65
AVG .299 25 85 94 4 53

5 Category: 3 

6 Category: 2

On the flip side you have guys like Cano. Cano will always be good, but his days as a dominant performer are likely over. The five-year average would appear to be optimistic, but he narrowly edges out Brian Dozier in the rankings. Still, these rankings have to be about what is coming and not what has already been.

Ian Kinsler—Detroit Tigers 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .236 22 90 52 14 55
2016 .288 28 117 83 14 45
2015 .296 11 94 73 10 43
2014 .275 17 100 92 15 29
2013 .277 13 85 72 15 51
AVG .267 18 97 74 14 45

5 Category: 4

6 Category: 4

Kinsler’s stock could rise if the Tigers move him. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are unmovable, so Kinsler stands as the Tigers’ last bargaining chip. Teams have learned that if you aren’t going to be competitive you might as well barter off all of your veteran talent to cut costs and build up your farm system. The Tigers are the latest ones to do it as they traded Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson, J.D. Martinez, and Alex Avila last season. Look for them to move Kinsler during the Winter Meetings.

Jason Kipnis—Cleveland Indians 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .232 12 43 35 6 28
2016 .275 23 91 82 15 57
2015 .303 9 86 52 12 60
2014 .240 6 61 41 22 50
2013 .284 17 86 84 30 76
AVG .267 13 73 59 17 54

5 Category: 8

6 Category: 7 

Sometimes other considerations matter. Kipnis is outfield (center field) eligible after playing there last season. Multi-positional flexibility provides for an interest tie breaker when compared with similar players like Rougned Odor. We are also guessing that he is due a bounce back campaign following an uncharacteristically down season.

Ian Happ—Chicago Cubs

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .253 24 62 68 8 39
AVG .253 24 62 68 8 39

5 Category: 10

6 Category: 11

Happ put these numbers up in 115 games. Imagine what he could do in 150 games. Like Kipnis, he also has outfield eligibility, so that also gives him a leg up over Odor. The power is probably not going to be there at this level, but with another month’s worth of plate appearances he might end up producing at the same level overall. We can also expect him to hit for higher average and walk more often next season.

Rougned Odor—Texas Rangers 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .204 30 79 75 15 32
2016 .271 33 88 88 14 19
2015 .261 16 54 61 6 23
2014 .259 9 39 48 4 17
AVG .249 22 65 68 10 23

5 Category: 8

6 Category: 14

I might even be tempted to drop Odor lower If you asked me again, but it is impossible to ignore the awesome power he brings to the table. He also brings decent speed. Unfortunately, you have to be able to steal first base. Odor is just too much of a free swinger to do that consistently. Even in five category leagues that limits his value.

D.J. LeMahieu—Colorado Rockies

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .310 8 95 64 6 59
2016 .348 11 104 66 11 66
2015 .301 6 85 61 23 50
2014 .267 5 59 42 10 33
2013 .280 2 39 28 18 19
AVG .301 6 76 52 14 45

5 Category: 10

6 Category: 8

On the one hand, if you simply look at the last three seasons you would be tempted to rank him higher. He has an elite batting average in today’s game (.320 since 2015) but every other category is either mediocre or merely good. So, he could elevate a spot or two in six category leagues where the average mixes with the walks to give you an elite on base percentage. The lack of power and lukewarm speed are still an issue.

Whit Merrifield—Kansas City Royals 

AVG HR Runs RBI SB BB
2017 .288 19 80 78 34 29
2016 .283 2 44 29 8 19
AVG .286 11 62 54 21 24

5 Category: 13

6 Category: 16

Merrifield should rank higher based on his first full season, but he has two strikes against him. First, he has only one full season. So, it’s hard to get too excited over a guy that might be a flash in the pan. Secondly, Kansas City might end up being a ghost town before this offseason is over. Neither of these are his fault necessarily, so we slipped him into the top ten based on the potential for another strong campaign.

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